Comma Press is launching the second iteration of the Northern Fiction Alliance mentorship scheme, which pairs early-career publishers at northern independent presses with experienced publishing professionals. The scheme is designed to provide support and encouragement for the three mentees taking part, who will receive at least four meetings with their mentor over the year-long scheme, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions.
Those who will take part in the 2021 scheme are Aisling Holling (marketing and editorial executive at Saraband Books) paired with Alexa von Hirschberg (publishing director at Faber & Faber), Javerya Iqbal (sales and marketing executive at And Other Stories) paired with Flora Willis (recently promoted to head of marketing and head of social media at Profile Books and Serpent’s Tail), and Paige Henderson (commissioning editor at Valley Press’ York-based imprint Lendal Press) paired with Genevieve Pegg (publishing director at HarperNorth).
Holling said: “I’m really excited to be part of the Northern Fiction Alliance mentorship scheme. Networking opportunities have been limited, to say the least, for the past year, so I’m really looking forward to connecting with Alexa to learn more about the industry and her experience.”
Von Hirschberg added: “I've admired the Northern Fiction Alliance for many years and I'm delighted to be taking part in the 2021 Mentorship Scheme. I know how valuable making connections can be, especially when you are trying to navigate the industry from outside London. I'm only too happy to be helping Aisling forge new networks and develop editorial knowledge.”
Becca Parkinson, publisher at Comma Press, said: “As someone who has benefited from the Northern Fiction Alliance Mentorship Scheme myself, I was delighted to convene this year’s pairings, particularly at a time when forging connections is both easier, because of the need to travel being removed, but also more difficult, as we must tackle the divide the virtual world puts between us. I am sure this year’s pairings will make the most of their virtual meetings until such a time as we can have in person meetings again.”